They are everywhere these days. Wherever you go, there seems to always be one lurking around the corner. ‘’I am a fashion stylist’’, they say with the self-satisfied smirk that comes with the full confidence of youth. ‘’I style celebrities’’. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! If we had a nickel for every time we hear this refrain, we’d own banks by now.
Seriously though, who is a stylist? How does one get to be one, what exactly do they do and does the world need that many stylists? Let us reason together.
As distilled from many hours poring over the blogs, fashion stylists are professionals who help clients (mostly public figures) determine and perfect their look or image. In other words they make people look and feel good at all times. But it is not as straightforward as that. Like most other professions, there are specialties and sub-specialties.
There is the Personal Stylist whose job it is to advise individual clients on the latest fashion trends, styles, colours and make-up. They may serve as a personal shopper, helping clients achieve that perfect look and the confidence required to pull it off. A highly demanding specialty, the personal stylist is at the client’s beck and call.
An Editorial Stylist helps to select clothing and accessories for published editorial shoots, music videos, advertising campaigns and even runway shows. They are responsible for the near-perfect look of celebrities on magazine covers and photo shoots.
“It is not necessarily about being a fashionable person; you need to be creative, open-minded and very particular about detail.
There is no particular clear-cut route to becoming a fashion stylist: like many creative vocations, different people approach it from different angles. Some study fashion or related courses in schools and institutes, others undergo internships with more experienced or established names while many just jump into the fray and learn on the job. However you choose to start, a keen sense of passion is required. As Dimeji Alara, top fashion stylist and Editor-in-Chief of StyleMania magazine puts it, “You need to understand what you do completely, that it is not necessarily about being a fashionable person; you need to be creative, open-minded and very particular about detail’”.
It’s all about the surface therefore, but it required more than a bit of depth. Stylists (should) possess a broad knowledge of fashion trends – both past and present. A razor-sharp mind to assimilate all that the fashion word has to offer and a keen sense of hustle as there is a lot of networking involved. Apparently a lazy person has no business being a stylist.
Still, the question of relevance. The answer depends on who you ask. To the average man on the street, it is just a ridiculous notion. Who needs help dressing themselves? Especially when there is the more pressing issue of how to feed, he might ask. But for those in the fashion and entertainment industry, even political leaders and the famous captains of industry, image can be everything. They might not have the know-how or the time to achieve the desired look that is a pre-requisite of their profession, but with means, anything is possible.
Truth is we would not adore our movie stars so if they weren’t always impeccably dressed. A shabbily dressed leader will not inspire the people’s confidence even if his last name is Oshiomhole, and no one wants to buy a magazine covered by a tackily clad model. Aha.